A few years ago I was at an anime con with my then 9 year old daughter. Attack on Titan had just finished it’s US broadcast and was at the height of it’s popularity. We were sitting in a panel room with Josh Grelle, the voice actor of Armin Arlert and Lauren Landa (Annie). They were entertaining questions from the audience.
I don’t know how many of you go to cons, but the questions at these events tend to be repetitive. People ask far too many about shipping. They ask about life as a voice actor, they ask the actors their favorite, hardest, easiest moments and so on. Trust me when I say voice actors are patient people.
About 30 minutes in, my daughter’s hand shot up and Josh called on her. She walked to the microphone and asked, “Do you think Armin will ever see the ocean?”
Josh, Lauren and the entire room let out a collective awwwwww and a few people actually got emotional–Josh included. He finally said, “I sure hope so. If I have one wish for this story it’s that Armin gets to see the ocean.”
I don’t share a lot of personal pictures, but I’ll make an exception here since meeting Josh was the greatest day of her life.
My daughter’s anime tastes have long since moved on to swimmers and setters, spikers and bikers, and those adorable ice skating boys, but Armin Arlert is still Her Guy. And while she doesn’t read the manga, she follows Armin-centric instagram accounts and each month asks me for details of his life. So yesterday when she came home from school, I was excited and happy to show her the panels of Armin happily splashing in the ocean. She’s waited basically a quarter of her life for this moment.
So please believe me when I say I get it. I am happy for everyone who loves Armin and the rest of the 104th. It was a great moment for you and I felt joy seeing your joy (especially yours @daydream24-7 and @guyinlovewitheremika ).
That said, I also completely understand the rage and disappointment in this chapter. I personally am struggling myself. This was a terrible chapter for anyone who loved Erwin, Ymir, or the Warriors. The time skip essentially rendered all of our pain as unimportant and inconsequential. We’re having to accept that everything we wanted and needed regarding our favorite characters isn’t going to happen.
We’re never going to see Nile, Pixis or, ya know, Levi’s reaction to Erwin’s death. Any conflicted feelings over eating Bert are probably long since resolved. We won’t get Reiner’s reaction. Ymir is probably dead. We’re expected to accept that Historia read her letter and got on with her life. And Annie–who dat?
It’s not just the characters I’m mourning, I have concerns about the story. In two pages the titan threat that hung over us is just gone. And not by some cool awesome use of the coordinate, but by a titan guillotine that slowly picked them off one by one. It feels cold and anti-climactic.
I have so many questions. What about the structure of the military? Is there still a Survey Corps? What have they been doing for a year? Aren’t they worried about Zeke and Reiner? I’m sorry but you do not put a time skip in the middle of a battle. You do not leave that many threads hanging. I wanted and expected so much more.
And now people are resettling Wall Maria. What about all those bodies? Not just Erwin’s, but there are a hundred dead SC members rotting in the sun. I used to accept that there was no time to mourn the dead, but they’ve obviously had nine months of relative peace. I hope a little of that went into consideration for the fallen but we’ll never know.
While the day at the beach was nice, I’m struggling with the point of it. Was it simply to prove that Grisha’s journals were trustworthy? If so, wouldn’t being surrounded by 50 meter walls that are stuffed with a colossal titan filling be enough to prove that?
Clearly I’m still processing all of this. I keep telling myself to be patient and give it more time, but how much more time do I allow? My biggest concern is if Isayama can still pull off a satisfying story, or is this an indication that he’s lost interest and is trying to wrap things up as quickly as possible. I’m looking forward to reading the meta of the people who I know are more objective than I am. I’m interested in hearing their thoughts. Maybe they’ll help soothe mine.
Anyway, thank you for listening. I just needed to get this out.